Three CSUN athletes matched their skills against the best in the country at the NCAA Track and Field Championships June 7-10.
Juniors Justin Johnson and Anthony Brown and freshman Jere Summers traveled to Sacramento to compete in their signature events. This was the athletes first time at the championships.
Brown clocked a time of 14.12 seconds in the preliminary round of the 110-meter hurdles, which was enough to advance to the semifinals. Despite running a 13.97 in the semifinals, he failed to qualify for the final round.
“I didn’t run a good race in the prelims or the semis,” Brown said.
Brown shattered the CSUN record by more than one-tenth of a second at the NCAA West Region Championship in Provo, Utah en route to qualifying for this event and won his second-straight Big West title.
“If I was running the way I have all season I would have been an All-American,” Brown said.
Johnson, a decathlete, went into the competition with a left hamstring-injury he suffered at the conference championships. During his first event, the 100 meters, Johnson strained his right hip flexor and after he finished 22nd.
Despite the pain in his hip, Johnson finished seven more events and worked his way up to 11th place overall, before pulling his right hamstring in the pole vault. The accumulation of injuries severe enough that he was forced to scratch from the final two events of the decathlon, the javelin and the 1500 meters.
“I was going to try to keep going, but I could barely put pressure on it,” Johnson said. “It sucked to end the season like that.”
Upon return to Northridge, Johnson said he immediately began rehabilitation on his injuries. He plans to get healthy in time for the indoor track and field season in January.
Summers, a shot-putter, opened competition with one of her best throws of the year, said Dale Cowper, men’s and women’s track and field assistant coach.
“She broke freshman records this year,” Cowper said. “The last two girls who did that eventually became NCAA champs.”
Summers finished 13th in her flight and 25th overall, missing the final round.
Summers is currently competing in the USA Junior Nationals in Indianapolis along with fellow CSUN athletes Dominique Calvin, Kayli Sanders and Awet Hagos. She will also travel to China later this year for an international meet.
Cowper said he was impressed with all three athletes and believes that with hard work they will all be back in the championships next year.
“Their competitive fire was amazing,” Cowper said. “They represented Northridge very well.”
Cowper said he also was impressed with the toughness Johnson presented at the championships.
“You can’t put a limit on him,” Cowper said. “He has so much heart and desire that he decides how far he’s going to take it.”
His desire will be tested throughout the rehabilitation process.
Johnson said he has engaged in a few light jogs and felt better. He is determined to make sure his body can make it through the whole event.
“I don’t want to just compete (next year),” Johnson said. “I want to be a contender.”